It was a good week. There's something interesting about Christmas in the most diverse city in the world. A lot of the people don't celebrate Christmas.
Seriously, it's super weird. For example, our entire apartment building is full of people from India, and so our conversations go like this.
Awkward White Missionary (me) - So, any fun plans for Christmas?
Indian person - Well, I get work off...
Awkward White Missionary - Fun!
By the way, that whole bit about everyone in our building being from India is not an exaggeration at all. Since we moved in three weeks ago, I've seen 3 white people and 2 Chinese. Everyone else is from India or Sri Lanka. If you go out into the neighborhoods, there's a ton of people from the Middle East, Caribbean, and Southern China. This whole city is just made up of pockets of people from different parts of the world, with the occasional white person to mix things up. Nothing like Utah at all.
Anyway, as far as investigators this week go, we have a few working with us, but by far the most super dope one is Candice! We met with here like 4 times this week. I know I talked about her last week, but she's just so awesome. This is how our last lesson went (in Chinese):
Missionary - So, how's your reading been?
*Note*At this point, we thought maybe she had read a few chapters of 1 Nephi, aside from the assigned chapters we'd given her
Candice - Well, I finished First Nephi, and then I read a part about...Oh, what was his name...Captain Moroni?
Missionary - Wait, like half of the book of Alma?
Candice - Yah, yah! Alma! That was it. I really liked that part.
Missionary - ...Okay...Sweet. You read half of Alma. Wow....
Candice - Yah, it was really good.
Basically after that, the lesson just got cooler. She believes it's true, she reads like a boss, she prays every day, she comes to church and all the church activities we invite her to, she brings her friends, and she totally wants to get baptized. Her date right now is January 9th, and we're really hoping we can teach her everything before then.
Also, this ward is awesome at fellowshipping. She already has like 4 good friends here.
This week we had zone conference as well, and it was super amazing. I did get your package Mom, so you can stop worrying :) Looking forward to skyping this week! We'll be doing it from the house of some of the coolest members in the ward, so maybe I can give you an introduction.
Hadley - You had a birthday!? You're finally 4 years old! That's so exciting! ;) Also, no school is super fun. I bet Mom is having the time of her life right now. By the way, I got a song from another Elder here that made me think of you and Ellie. I'll try and send it, but if it doesn't work, then remind me to show it to you guys in two years. So what's on your Christmas list? Is Emi okay now?
Person not as beast as me - Christmas is totally not about presents, you're right. We had a Christmas program in sacrament here as well, and it turns out that Chinese people sing super good. Like, super good. It was really spiritual, and we had a lot of people talk about the Christmases they'd had when they hadn't been as well off as they are now. Christmas had been meager, but they had been able to remember the true meaning, and that's all that mattered.
Ellie - I don't think you could have picked three Emojis that more perfectly sum up you as a person :) No, I have not eaten any dog yet, and from what I've gathered, Chinese people don't actually eat dog unless they're really really poor. Maybe some people do, but I haven't met anyone. Maybe they would let me call if I had 1,000,0000 dollars, but unfortunately I don't :) Do you have that much?
Mom - The works going great up here. Yes, Raymond is the one that lost interest, and I was super sad for him, but I think he might change his mind one day. All we can do is pray :/ Anyway, the Christmas spirit is definitely in the air here, and I'm loving it. Random spiritual experience - Yesterday night, we were going contacting (talking to people on the street) at a mall, and I really wanted to find some new investigators. We hadn't found any in the last 6 days, which is kind of a long time, so I had prayed the last night really hard that we'd be able to find 2. We only had an hour, so me and Elder Mak got out there, and just started talking to everyone. It was late, windy, and cold, and for about 45 minutes it seemed like no one had any interest. We hadn't had any success, and we were starting to feel discouraged. I decided I needed some encouragement. I pulled out my Book of Mormon (on the street) and we read part of Alma 26 together. Ammon is basically preaching to his brethren, and telling them how happy he is that they've had success. After that, I felt better, and we got back to it for 15 minutes. For a while longer, there still wasn't anyone having interest, and finally my watch said we were out of time. I was kind of sad, because we hadn't found anyone, but I decided to talk to a few more people.
I'm not kidding, the next lady I talked to had interest, and then I went up to two Chinese people, and they both had interest. 3 new investigators! God answers prayers, but only when we put in our efforts.
Ashleigh - Ice skating is super hard. Agreed. One hundred percent. Anyway, I'm so excited to see you guys too! Tell Ethan to remember our theme song from camp, and then to never ever ever believe it. He'll know what I'm talking about. I've actually never been night skiing, but it sounds fun. Also, tell me how many boys gave you a christmas present, so I know how many shotgun shells to buy when I get home.
Love, The Hammer
Kidding Ashleigh :)
Dad - I think it's kind of funny that you guys all thought I was going to freeze, when it hasn't even snowed up here yet. I'm not joking, all we've gotten so far is frost, and it hasn't dipped beneath 20 degrees Fahrenheit :) Suckers! Kidding. At least you guys are getting a white Christmas :) I'm excited to talk to you guys too! Also, I wanted to tell you a quote that I heard from a missionary that just finished her mission this last transfer. At her last zone conference, she got up and said "Faith is stepping into the dark and knowing that one of two things will happen. Either there will be something for you to stand on or you will be taught how to fly." It was pretty dramatic, but it was sincere as well, and I could tell that she honestly believed it. One of the coolest things about serving a mission has been seeing people from all different backgrounds spend so much time serving the Lord. It changes people, and I think that quote kind of sums up a mission. Two years seems really long, but when you take that leap of faith to serve, there are a thousand things to stand on, and wonderful people with you the whole time teaching you to "fly". Also, I thought I'd send you a scripture that really gave me strength this week. John 14:31.
Love you all! Merry Christmas!